Today is Mutscheltag, or Mutschel Day!

This is a traditional day in Ruitlingen, Germany, the hometown of my friends Uhle and Henry. Today they invited me and some other friends to celebrate with them by playing a dice game and eating a gorgeous Mutschel loaf that Uhle made specially for the occasion. The bread looked about two feet in diameter!

Ok, maybe a foot and a half? It looks smaller in the picture than it did in real life! 

The Mutschel bread has an iconography: it's shaped like the mountain near the town of Ruitlingen, and the knot at the top is the castle at the top of the mountain. The knots around the outside each have symbols on them which indicate the town's traditional trades.

There's also an accompanying dice game -- we played a version that Wikipedia calls "seven eat like animals" -- No one got to eat while each person rolled two dice, and whoever rolled 7 first got to eat first, tearing a chunk of the bread off with their hands and taunting the others who can't eat yet. Then each time someone else rolled a 7, they too could eat, until finally everyone was chowing down. 

Henry modified the game so that we could eat the salads (pictured) while we were playing the dice game, very kind of him to keep us from starving. However, the salads were even better with the bread.

After dinner, we had tea and played another dice game, Mia, to see who would take home the leftovers. There were again two dice, but this time we had to take turns rolling and calling out the number we rolled -- either the truth, or a lie, and each time the number had to be higher than the last. The next person had to guess if we were telling the truth or not. If she was right, the bluffer got a point; if she was wrong, she got a point. 

We were supposed to play to 6 points. Apparently the German way to keep tallies (at least, for this game) is by drawing a little stick figure like you would for hangman. Uhle added little open coffins below our stick figures... which meant we each got to play longer before losing, but it also meant that when we lost, it was quite morbid... I love it.

I won the first game, and got to eat like an animal before anyone else, but I lost the second game, largely thanks to Henry's ridiculous bluffs and ridiculous truths. I still got to take home some of the Mutschel! I'm planning on eating it with chocolate (which is what I did when they brought chocolate out for dessert.... mmmm).

Uhle and Henry are so kind and generous and open. I'm really glad they're sharing some of their traditions with me!